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BUSINESS Saturday, 4 May, 2013
PM for substantial budget allocation to agriculture, energy, health, education ISLAMABAD
KCCI calls for increased Pakistan-Thailand economic cooperation KARACHI: Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Muhammad Haroon Agar emphasised on enhanced interaction between the Pakistani and Thai business communities including frequent visits of delegations for exploitation of excellent economic opportunities in Pakistan and Thailand. Thailand is an important country of ASEAN bloc, he said while exchanging views with Thai Airways General Manager in Pakistan Polapat Neelabhamorn, who called on him at the chamber, said a KCCI release on Thursday. The businessmen of the two countries should frequently travel to each other’s country to make the best use of the tremendous business opportunities existing in Pakistan and Thailand, he said. Agar also proposed for a Thai Airways stall in the Thai Pavilion at KCCI’s 10th International Trade Exhibition “My Karachi: Oasis of Harmony” scheduled to be held in July this year. He said frequent flights between the two countries are essential to facilitate business travel and transportation of air cargo, particularly of perishable goods. APP
85% of internet users worldwide choose mobile: report ISLAMABAD: Recent reports have shown that 85% of users around the world name mobile phone as their first choice, making it the most preferred channel for accessing the internet. Further findings revealed that not only does the vast majority prefer to go online via their mobile devices but 11% also choose them at home as an alternative to turning on their personal computers (PCs), reported the Live Science Website. The reason for mobile devices’ massive popularity is that they allow users to stay connected at all times and in all places, but the results also show a tendency for multiple device utilisation. Users are likely to combine browsing on smartphones with internet activities carried out via PCs and tablets. PCs are used as a complementary device by 6% of respondents, while tablets are used by 0.48%. Communication with friends is still the most popular activity for mobile internet users, as stated by 61%, followed by entertainment, at 35%. The survey also found that demand for media and financial services is still high, with these categories scoring 31% and 23% respectively. APP
RIME Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso on Friday directed the Ministry of Finance to allocate substantial funds for agriculture, energy, health and education sectors in the next budget and come up with recommendations to broaden the tax base. The premier issued these directives during a presentation given by the Ministry of Finance on the state of the economy and the preparation of budget for the next financial year at the PM House. Khoso said Pakistan was blessed with huge resources and it was up to us to exploit its potential for the progress and welfare of the people of the country. He also directed the Ministry of Finance to further streamline the procedure
for remittances so that overseas Pakistanis can send money back home conveniently. This, he said, would also lead to increase in the amount of remittances, which is presently estimated to reach $14 billion. The PM was told that due to satisfactory performance shown by the agriculture sector in the past few years, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has remained in the single digit. He directed more emphasis on agriculture sector because he said it had the potential of addressing the issue of unemployment as well as enhancing the rate of economic growth. The meeting was attended by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Shahid Amjad Chaudhry and senior officials of the finance ministry, Planning Division and PM Secretariat.
Branchless banking transaction volume balloons to Rs 151b
Inflation takes another dip to 5.8 % in April KARACHI STAFF REPORT
KARACHI STAFF REPORT
Branchless banking (BB) in the country continues to grow substantially with the number of BB accounts climbing to 2.1 million during October–December in financial year 2013 (FY13). Almost 35 million transactions worth Rs 151 billion have been processed during the quarter, said the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday. SBP said the sector had seen an “impressive” quarterly growth of 20 percent over the corresponding period of last year. The central bank, in its latest Branchless Banking Newsletter, attributed this upward trend mainly to a 49 percent growth in level 0 accounts. The Level 3 accounts, it said, also registered a significant growth of 37 percent during the quarter mainly due to entry of two new players, ‘Mobicash’ and ‘Timepey’ while a marginal growth of 2 percent was observed in both level 1 and 2 accounts. The average size of transaction was Rs 4,278, while the average number of transaction per day increased to 392,433 from 354,367 during the previous quarter, it added. The fast growing network of BB agents reached 41,567 as of 31st December, 2012 from 30,540 as of 30th June, 2012, registering an increase of 36 percent.
“This growth is attributable mainly to the entry of new players,” the SBP said. However, it said, this number did not take into account “shared” agents (i.e., an agent serving multiple providers). The branchless banking deposits have grown by 35 percent to Rs 1 billion while person-to-person (P2P) fund transfers constituted a significant share of 33 percent in the value of total transactions.
According to SBP, bill payments and top-ups (45 percent) ranked first, followed by P2P fund transfers (34 percent). Government-to-people (G2P) welfare payments through BB channels increased from Rs 4.1 billion to Rs 5 billion, registering a growth of 27 percent during the quarter. Moreover, Rs 2.7 million have also been disbursed to Employees’ Old-Age Benefit Institution’s pensioners through agents.
The inflation number gauged by Consumer Price Index (CPI) in April stood at 5.8 percent compared to 6.57 percent last month. This, analysts said, is the second month straight that saw the number hitting another low of the rebased CPI index. This is the lowest reported reading, including the old base, since March 2004. Inflation stood at 1.1 percent as against 0.4 percent in March on a month-on-month (MoM) basis and at 7.8 percent in the first ten months of financial year 2013 (10MFY13) versus 10.80 percent in the same period last year. Compared to last month non-perishable food items- 30 percent weightage- witnessed a decline of 0.3 percent but a one percent increase in HRI index resulted in a higher number. Other heads, which witnessed a substantial increase, were perishable food items, up by 13 percent MoM, and education, up 2.5 percent MoM, said analysts from Topline. “On a yearly basis, reduced gas prices and no increase in electricity tariff has continued to keep the base low,” viewed Nauman Khan of Topline Research. The core inflation, that consists of non-food and non energy items, stood at 8.7 percent in April as against 9.0 percent last month while trimmed core inflation came down to 7.6 percent as against 8.4 percent last month. With another soft inflation reading in April, analysts estimate FY13 average inflation is likely to stand below 8 percent which is significantly lower than the government target of 9.5 percent. “We foresee lower inflation reading which can possibly delay the reversal rate eyed by market participants towards 2013 end,” said the analyst.
Indian FM to discuss IP gas pipeline in Tehran TEHRAN ONLINE
Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid is slated to discuss extension of a gas pipeline project which would take Iran’s rich gas reserves to Pakistan and then to India during his upcoming visit to Tehran, media reports said. Khurshid and his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi will talk about the extension of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline in Tehran, an Indian newspaper reported. Khurshid is slated to discuss bilateral ties and mutual cooperation with Iranian senior officials. The Indian external affairs minister is visiting Iran to attend the 17th Joint Iran-India Commission. Khurshid is the co-chairperson of the commission along with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi. Iranian Oil Ministry spokesman Alireza Nikzad Rahbar announced that New Delhi has renewed interest in the extension of IP gas pipeline to India. “Since India has been motivated by
Pakistan’s seriousness in construction of the IP peace pipeline, New Delhi is negotiating to join the project,” Nikzad Rahbar said. The Iranian official noted that “there has been considerable progress in the IP gas pipeline, with Iranian contractors starting work on the Pakistani section of the pipeline, after finishing nearly 900 kilometers of the pipeline on Iran’s soil”. Last month, Moily emphasised that his country will not halt imports of Iranian crude oil, rejecting recent western news reports to the contrary. While noting that unilateral anti-Iran sanctions by the US and the European Union have caused some difficulties for India in terms of insuring Iranian oil shipments, Moily told reporters in New Delhi that his country intended to establish a special fund for insuring oil imports originating from the Islamic republic. India, the world’s fourth-largest petroleum consumer, is Iran’s second largest oil customer after China and purchases around $12 billion worth of Iranian crude every
year, about 12 percent of its consumption. Last month, Iran and Pakistan officially inaugurated the construction phase of a gas pipeline project which is due to take Iran’s rich gas reserves to the energyhungry south Asian nation. The project kicked off in a ceremony attended by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at the two countries’ shared border region in Iran’s southeastern city of Chabahar. The 2700 kilometer long pipeline was to supply gas for Pakistan and India which are suffering a lack of energy sources, but India had evaded talks. In 2011, Iran and Pakistan declared they would finalise the agreement bilaterally if India continued to be absent in the meeting. According to the project proposal, the pipeline will begin from Iran’s Assalouyeh Energy Zone in the south and stretch over 1,100 km through Iran. In Pakistan, it will pass through Balochistan and Sindh but officials now say the route may be changed if China agrees to the project.
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BUSINESS B Saturday, 4 May, 2013
SBP seeks public opinion to curb banknotes forgery KARACHI ISMAIL DILAWAR
HE central bank is conducting a public survey to improve management of currency in circulation in the country. The survey intends to obtain public perception on new designed banknotes of various denominations introduced by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The central bank wants the bank customers to rank the design and security features of Rs 5,000, Rs 1,000, Rs 500, Rs 100, Rs 50, Rs 20 and Rs 10 notes on a scale ranging from best to worst. Asking for suggestions for improvement in the existing bills, the SBP survey wants to know public opinion on whether the bank should launch banknotes of other denominations like Rs 2,000, Rs 10,000, Rs
200 or others. “You are aware that rapid technological advancements in digital imaging and printing have helped counterfeiters to easily forge banknotes that lack advance security features,” the regulator told banks in circular No.CMD./114/2 (4) G-2013. To curb these threats, it said, it was necessary to make the banknotes modern and difficult to forge as well as to efficiently process the
New gas reservoir discovered in Khirthar Foldbelt, Shukhpur ISLAMABAD ONLINE
Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) in joint venture with Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) discovered a new gas reservoir in the Kirthar Foldbelt. During the production testing, gas flowed at 33 million cubic feet per day highlighting an excellent potential for future energy needs of the country. The director general petroleum concessions told the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Sohail Wajahat H Siddiqui that Eni Pakistan in joint venture with the PPL and KUFPEC has made a new discovery of the gas reservoirs in the Kirthar Foldbelt through Lundali-I well located in the Sukhpur block, 270 km north of Karachi. The Landali-I is a 2,660 meters deep well. It was further said the discovery will be appraised and subsequently be commercialised through an early production scheme, making gas possible supply within three years. The minister for petroleum appreciated the efforts of everyone involved in discovery of the new gas reservoirs and said this discovery is good news for the nation and the energy sector of Pakistan.
notes through electronic devices such as note counting machines. Most banknote processing machines in the market now require the availability of machine readable features in banknotes to detect counterfeiting, it said. The Note Deposit Machines and ATM machines also required machine readable features to identify genuine bills so that safe and cost effective medium of exchange and funds trans-
fer is provided to the public. “To obtain feedback on public perception at our banknotes in circulation, a survey questionnaire is forwarded with request to get it filled by 10 valuable customers/visitors on a random basis from each of the selected branches of your bank,” the SBP circular said. The findings of the survey would be used to improve the banknote management at banks as well as at the SBP, said the central bank. “Therefore, kindly advise the concerned branch manager to nominate a suitable officer for filling the questionnaire for achieving better results from this survey,” it asked the banks. The central bank also requested banks to arrange to collect the filled questionnaire from selected branches of their banks latest by May 8 and to return it by May 10. This, the SBP said, would enable it to compile and develop a report on public perception very soon.
ICCI organises advocacy seminar on consumer protection ISLAMABAD APP
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) on Friday organised an advocacy seminar on consumer protection to creating awareness among masses. The event titled “Energy Sector Regulation and Consumer in Pakistan” was organised in collaboration with The Network for Consumer Protection Pakistan. Speaking on the occasion ICCI President Zafar Bakhtawari appreciated the initiative of The Network for Consumer Protection for organising the seminar on consumer protection laws and energy sector regulations in Pakistan to create better awareness on them. He said consumer satisfaction is the top priority of every business and stressed developing a culture where consumers’ rights are fully protected. ICCI would regularly organise press conferences in upcoming Ramadan to put a proper check on accelerated prices of necessary items so that consumers get these items at affordable prices, he added. He assured that ICCI would provide full support to The Network for Consumer Protection for
creating better awareness in the business community as well as among consumers on protection laws. We believe that increased awareness of these laws would promote healthy business practices and enable consumers to get quality products and services, he added. The ICCI president said the government should take businessmen on board while formulating consumer protection policies and laws so that such laws could be developed with consensus. Speaking on the occasion, The Network Executive Coordinator Nadeem Iqbal highlighted activities of his organisation on consumer protection and promoting awareness for consumers in the country. The organisation depends on the ongoing support and collaboration of different partners and national and international organisations to meet its core objectives to protect consumers, he added. He said The Network representatives focused their vigor for consumer protection in various areas such as water, breastfeeding, pharmaceuticals, tobacco control and consumer rights, access to justice, gender violence and women empowerment and public health under World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Pre-1947 Pakistani settlers to be approached for investment in country ISLAMABAD ONLINE
In an apparent bid to formulate investment policy for Pakistanis, who left the country during partition, a parliamentary panel on Friday decided to engage people from all provinces to establish contacts with those Pakistanis and to convince them to invest in the country. The Senate Sub-committee on Commerce that met with Senator Karim Ahmed Khawaja in the par-
liament house said different countries in the world engaged their citizens and brought them back to the country to increase investment and to boost economic activities. Therefore they said focus should be shifted on those Pakistanis who left the country during partition of the subcontinent and established their businesses abroad. Chairman of the committee, Senator Karim Ahmed Khawaja said we have the example of China before us which called back its citizens who had established
their businesses abroad and at the request of their government they establish businesses in their homeland. Through this mechanism, the Chinese government provided strong support to their economy and today they are an economic power, he said. If we further delayed initiating this process then the gap between our generations will further expand, Khawaja commented. Sentor Saifullah Khan Bangash said a large number of people were doing businesses in different coun-
tries of the world and these people wanted to come to their homeland and invest. It is the responsibility of the government to approach them and give incentives, he added. During the meeting, Federal Secretary Commerce Munir A Qureshi informed the legislative body that the ministry is in continuous contacts with commercial councilors and is working to search all such people who left the country during partition. He said although it will take time, “we are optimistic about it”.
Major Gainers COMPANY Nestle Pak. XD Unilever Food XD Rafhan Maize SPOT Colgate Palmolive Siemens Pakistan
OPEN 6650.00 4900.00 4675.16 1970.00 612.00
HIGH 6982.50 5145.00 4908.91 2010.00 642.60
LOW 6980.00 5125.00 4848.00 2010.00 605.10
CLOSE CHANGE 6982.50 332.50 5145.00 245.00 4908.90 233.74 2010.00 40.00 642.60 30.60
TURNOVER 100 200 4,300 1,750 12,700
771.00 321.01 348.90 505.00 274.00
770.00 321.00 337.00 498.00 268.01
771.00 321.00 340.00 498.61 268.01
-37.00 -16.00 -5.91 -5.34 -4.73
200 200 60,900 25,700 2,500
10.40 9.17 7.78 58.25 5.14
9.77 8.91 7.40 55.06 4.81
10.04 8.97 7.70 58.25 4.84
-0.14 -0.13 0.29 2.77 -0.20
10,031,000 9,420,500 9,035,000 6,508,500 5,924,500
Major Losers Island Textile Bhanero Tex. Clariant PaK. Millat Tractors Abbott Lab. XD
808.00 337.00 345.91 503.95 272.74
Volume Leaders TRG Pakistan Ltd. 10.18 Fauji Cement 9.10 Lotte Chemical 7.41 Dawood Hercules 55.48 Wateen Telecom Ltd 5.04
Interbank Rates USD GBP JPY EURO
PKR 98.2783 PKR 152.7834 PKR 1.0013 PKR 128.9510
Forex BUY US Dollar Euro Great Britain Pound Japanese Yen Canadian Dollar Hong Kong Dollar UAE Dirham Saudi Riyal
99.70 129.09 153.37 0.9912 97.26 12.56 26.90 26.40
SELL 99.95 129.34 153.62 1.0016 98.97 12.79 27.15 26.65
CORPORATE CORNER Swiss business delegation on fact-finding mission to Pakistan
KARACHI: A Swiss economic delegation was in Pakistan for a two-days visit of Karachi and a day-long visit of Islamabad. This delegation was co-organized by the Embassy and the Consulate General of Switzerland in order to portray Pakistan as an economic partner having great potential for investment and business ventures in several sectors of the economy. The delegation was led by Ambassador Eric Martin, Delegate of the Federal Council for Trade Agreements, Head of Bilateral Economic Relations, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Federal Department of Economic Affairs. It was a high profile public and private sector delegation visiting Pakistan after many years. During the visit, the delegation met senior government officials and businessmen. The main objective of their visit was to further deepen official and business to business contacts between Pakistan and Switzerland to explore mutually beneficial business opportunities. The delegates exchanged views with the Switzerland based multinational companies operating here and had fruitful meetings and discussions with the Board of Investment and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan. PR
NIB’s Q1 2013 results show a record profit of Rs 549 million KARACHI: NIB Bank announced Financial Results for the Q1 2013 on Friday, 19 April 2013. Importantly, the Bank has posted a Q1 2013 revenue of Rs. 1.42 billion, representing not only a 21% growth over Q1 2012 but an impressive revenue growth in the last five quarters. This translated into a record profit before tax of Rs. 549 million, compared to a loss before tax of Rs. 98 million in Q1 2012. Profit before tax of Rs. 549 million as against loss before tax of Rs. 98 million in Q1 2012. Total revenue increased by 21% to Rs. 1.42 billion Net interest income increased by 53% Non-funded income increased by 24% (excluding the impact of subsidiary dividends in Q1 2012). Expenses increased by only 2% Provision charge reduced by Rs. 313 million and provision reversals have also increased by Rs. 214 million, aggregating to a swing of Rs. 527 million in net credit provisioning between the two first quarters. The increase in current accounts and pro-active management of cost of funds in a declining interest rate environment led to a substantial reduction in gross interest expense. As a consequence, net interest income between the two first quarters of 2012 and 2013 increased by 53%. PR